With the release of Google Penguin, ethical SEO agencies are now forced to come up with new and innovative ways of link building. Not only that; the links need to be “natural” in Google’s eyes so any links that have clearly been asked for, exchanged or paid for could work against you when building a back link profile.
While we all know content is king, we also know that article or guest post writing takes a long time and it can be difficult to keep coming up with new, exciting content that is likely to get shared. There are many different ways of link building, including content writing, social media sharing and even live blogging, however, sometimes, something as simple as an image can be one of the most effective link building tools. We all remember ‘Lolcats’, right?
With this in mind, infographics are useful tool when it comes to link building. They are a cross between an image and unique content (which usually in the form of stats); a visual representation of information, let’s say. Infographics work well as they take a variety of data and present it in a way that is easy to read at a glance. For example, when you’re scrolling down your news feed on Facebook, you’re much more likely to stop and glance at an image than read an entire article. The human brain processes visual information simultaneously, so you can look at the above ‘Lolcats’ picture, for example, and understand the concept pretty much straight away; this is why many people find it easier to learn using visual aids rather than reading through long pieces of copy.
So how do you make an infographic that is not only useful, but share-worthy?
The first rule is show, don’t tell; infographics aren’t about bullet-pointing information into a concise list and then sticking an image next to it. If your infographic doesn’t make sense without a load of text then you’re “telling” too much rather than “showing”. It’s also a good idea to put together a wire frame first so you can ensure the infographics will flow. Generally, the main focal image or “hook” needs to be near the centre, and whether it reads left to right, or top to bottom; the infographic should tell a story via a hierarchy. Using the below (very basic) template as an example. The actual shape of the infographic is a 4-tier cake; straight away, readers will know that this has something to do with cake; probably wedding cakes. Remember, they’ve not read a word yet! This shape lends itself to a hierarchy naturally, so you could fit at least 4 important facts in here, starting with the most important at the top, and working down to the bottom.
Secondly, be unique and think outside the box. While these tips are, quite frankly, cliché and rather vague; they are important. From a client’s perspective; if you give them an infographic with their data presented in an Excel-style pie chart; they’re not going to be happy. They’ve probably got a spreadsheet-loving member of the team (like me!) who can whip up the same pie chart for them in a matter of minutes, and free of charge! You need to give the client something that they wouldn’t think of, or be able to create themselves in order to justify their spend with you.
Finally, and most obviously; make sure your data is correct and from a reliable source. Infographics are only as good as the data you put in; you might put together a fantastic, eye-catching design, but if you’ve given out boring, unreliable information, it’s highly likely that it will never get shared.